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Indiana University Medical Students to Begin Training with Ceremony Laced with Tradition


Tradition abounds at the annual event. As family and friends watch, the class of 2014 will be presented with white coats – symbolic of clinical service – and repeat a physician’s pledge whose origins are attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates.

Each incoming medical student crosses the stage and is assisted into a white coat by one of their instructors.

One of those students will be Patrick Titzer, who will begin his medical school training at the IU School of Medicine – Terre Haute education center. Titzer is a non-traditional student who has spent the past 20 years as a self-employed artist. He is sure the moment will not be lost on him.

 “What significance can be contained in a brief walk across a stage,” said Titzer. “It represents a profound evolution in life. After most normal passage ceremonies, you go out into the world and get a job; after the White Coat Ceremony, you start the journey to become a physician.”

The “Tour the Life” blogs for seven other IU medical students can be accessed at

In their first year, students learn gross anatomy, histology, neurobiology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and immunology and introduction to medicine. The second year focuses on biostatistics, pharmacology, medical genetics, pathology and emergency medicine. In their final two years, students receive clinical training and further classroom and laboratory studies. Students are required to master nine core competencies, including self-awareness, effective communication skills, lifelong learning, problem-solving, professionalism, moral reasoning and ethical judgment, social awareness and its relation to health care, using science as a guide for all aspects of health care and clinical skills.

The students will be joined on stage by IU School of Medicine Dean Craig Brater, M.D., and Maryellen E. Gusic, M.D., executive associate dean for educational affairs, who will ask “Just Who Will You Be?” after medical school.